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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ancient art

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Mysterious Minoan Tentacles

The Minoans were a seafaring people, so it's no surprise that their art is full of marine life, exhibiting their deep connection with the sea goddess Posidaeja. Most people are familiar with the dolphins and octopuses that appear on so many Minoan marine ware vessels and frescoes. But there's another sea creature that shows up in Minoan art, mostly on ceramic containers, a creature that was so odd, it took us a while to figure out its identity.

Have a look at the marine ware jug at the top of this post. The critter painted on it looks like an octopus that's holed up in a nautilus shell, sticking its tentacles out and waving them.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Ancient Minoan Good Bois

The Minoans had dogs. I remember being a little surprised to learn that, some years ago. Somehow, I just never connected "Minoans" with "dogs" in my mind. Cats, sure, but dogs?

Yep, they had them - in fact, the breed the Minoans had still exists on Crete. It's called the Cretan Hound and is considered to be the oldest European dog breed. That's one of them in the image above, on a carved stone pyxis lid from Mochlos dating to about 2400 BCE. I can imagine the person who owned that pyxis (a lidded jewelry box) choosing it because their dog loved to lie in the same pose, stretched out in the shade of an olive tree.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
What's missing from Minoan art?

What's missing from Minoan art?

Before you answer "The women's shirts," let me clarify that I mean here: What kind of animal is missing from Minoan art?

There are all kinds of animals in Minoan art, inhabiting the realms of land, sky, sea, and imagination. But there's one that doesn't show up until very late in the game, for very specific reasons.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Gender Equality in Minoan Art

A lot of people have the impression that Minoan art mostly contains depictions of women and girls. But that's all it is: an impression.

Back in the early days of this blog, I went through Nanno Marinatos's book Minoan Religion and counted up the male and female figures in the art depicted in the book. They came out just about even.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Mystery of Minoan Papyrus

When someone says "papyrus," most people think of Egypt - specifically, ancient Egypt with papyrus plants growing along the banks of the Nile and being made into sheets of material to write on.

People don't often think of the Minoans in connection with papyrus. But papyrus appears in Minoan art more than you might think. And we're still not quite sure what it means.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Mysterious Minoan Snake Goddess Figurines

The photo above (image CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons) shows two full faience figurines and one partial one from Knossos as displayed at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. You're probably already familiar with at least the two full ones in the middle and on the left.

What you might not know is that they weren't found in such a complete state, and at least one of them may have been reconstructed incorrectly.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Modern Inspiration = Minoan Confusion

Minoan art is a constant inspiration: the colorful frescoes with people in naturalistic poses, an emphasis on the beauty of nature... but a lot of the "Minoan art" that circulates online is not Minoan at all, and definitely not ancient, even if it's inspired by the ancient originals.

Take the lovely image at the top of this post. It's a modern work that's a combination of this fresco from Akrotiri, ca. 1625 BCE:

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